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Count Talent and the Originals

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Album Review

This album is a mixed bag, though not without its share of agreeably sleazy charms. The title refers to Bloomfield and the "usual suspects" who often played with him, including keyboardist Mark Naftalin, bassist David Shorey, drummer-vocalist Bob Jones, bassist-singer Roger "Jellyroll" Troy, and singer Nick Gravenites, among others. They're all here, with plenty of raunchy horns and keyboards for company. Gravenites' vehicle, "Bad Man" — a somber recounting of the street life's ups and downs — provides one of the undisputed highlights, as well as "You Was Wrong," a mournful lament where Bloomfield lays down some truly stinging guitar. Bloomfield's slide guitar prowess also shines on "Peach Tree Man," sung in his characteristic warble about a '30s-era hermaphrodite blues guitarist. How's that for an unlikely topic? Jones' vocal cameos open and close the proceedings with the agreeable R&B swagger of "Love Walk" and "Let the People Dance," which are lesser songs, but well performed. The same goes for "Sammy Knows How to Party," which won't win any lyrical prizes, and there's little reason for an instrumental remake of Leo Sayer's soft pop ballad "When I Need You." This album makes enjoyable listening, but will likely please Bloomfield completists most. Non-initiates should seek out his more definitive solo work, such as Between the Hard Place and the Ground.


Born: July 28, 1943 in Chicago, IL

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Michael Bloomfield was one of America's first great white blues guitarists, earning his reputation on the strength of his work in the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. His expressive, fluid solo lines and prodigious technique graced many other projects — most notably Bob Dylan's earliest electric forays — and he also pursued a solo career, with variable results. Uncomfortable with the reverential treatment afforded a guitar hero, Bloomfield tended to shy away from the spotlight after spending...
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